Dublin, from mid-December to the beginnings of January, is not a pleasant place to be. Everyone knows that many Irish people have a "taste for the booze". This is fair enough, I am a drinker, I'm quite partial to the odd snifter of pale ale now and again, but it must be said that Dublin city really takes it's drinking a bit too seriously at this time of year.

People seem to take the festive season as an excuse to get completely shitfaced 7 days a week, make complete arseholes out of themselves, puke up everywhere, start fights with security guards in 24 hour shops and just generally become a city of drunken assholes for a while.

But aren't you Paddies drunk all the time and doing that shit anyway?

Just as much as any other city at the weekend, but we're talking about a period here of roughly 20 consecutive days of non-stop, solid boozing.

Company Christmas parties are a major factor in this.

Take Johnny BankCashier. Moved to the city to escape the rural hell of Bogholetown, Co.Leitrim. Quiet guy, doesn't say much, never late, does his job well, never outstanding, nobody has any beef with him. Goes out for a few pints with his work-mates maybe four or five times throughout the year, and maybe a company trip to the greyhound racing. Never puts a foot wrong, always minds his P's and Q's.

Put Johnny into the " Company Christmas Party" environment and watch him transform. After a nondescript three course meal at a reasonably priced nondescript eaterie, washed down with buckets of red wine (remember, it's on the company) Johnny transforms from docile-rural-lad-who-isn't-really-good-friends-with-anybody, to Johnny you-wanna-know-something-I've-always-hated-you. Watch as he and his work buddies attempt to out drink each other while the booze is free. Stare in amazement as he stuns the entire board of directors with comments like "Don't get me wrong, you're wife is a good looking woman, all I'm saying is you could do waaay better" and "Would you blame your not getting that big promotion to head office on that drink-driving incident last year" etc. etc.

Eventually the decision makers will leave the "party" and move on to somewhere more upmarket for some cigars and fine wines, while the lowly floor staff move on to the nearest boozer available and blow their Christmas bonuses on ridiculously priced rounds of double vodkas. After downing even more hooch, the night begins to go downhill. The punters who would normally shy off are forced to go to some cheesy meat market in Temple Bar with the "mad" people from work.

Johnny at this stage is now paralytic and most likely looking for a fight. He may get one if he tries it on with some hard man's girlfriend or gives enough guff to one of the bouncers. Then again he may not, and just settle for more drink. He's on whiskey at this stage.

3am rolls around, not unlike our Johnnny, who is now in a busy Chinese take-away attempting to tantalise the staff by ordering a "Number 69" in a "me so horny" accent.

He quickly downs half his slop and falls out the door. By now his stomach is a like a washing machine running at full pelt with alcohol, MSG and fried rice substituting the standard Ariel Automatic. After stumbling up the road in the vague direction of a taxi rank, Johnny will undoubtedly stop and talk to a homeless person sleeping rough, advising them to get their life back on track and how he didn't get to where he is today by sitting on his arse begging for money. He will soon tire of this conversation and move on another ten yards and begin to puke up the some of the contents of his stomach. This will continue every ten or twenty yards until there is nothing left and he's retching bile.

He reaches the taxi rank, sees a queue of about 150 people and decides he'd be quicker walking back to Glasnevin.

Come 5am and Johnny is still miles from home, no money in his pockets, freezing. Eventually makes it back, climbs into bed, has a short snigger about his vomiting antics and falls into a drunken sleep, only to wake up the next day, 2 hours late for work.

Sound familiar?? Welcome to Dublin in December.

Walking to work this morning only confirms this. There is puke EVERYWHERE. In phone boxes, on lamp posts, shop windows, cars, bins, you name it, some Johnny has emptied their guts on it.

It's enough to make you sick.

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